At times it can be quite tricky to get a baby to sleep soundly and through the night without zero disturbances. Even worse, the options to improve infant sleep are limited.
As you may already be aware, the crib needs to be kept clear to reduce the risk of SIDS as per the guidelines of the American Academy of Paediatrics and so loose blankets; stuffed toys and other crib accessories can’t be used as they pose a potential choking hazard.
And even if they weren’t off limits, it’s pretty easy for infants to simply kick the blankets off themselves during sleep, only to wake up as their bodies detect the loss of heat. As a result, many people try swaddling to keep their baby cozy and warm through the night but many are put off by some of the potential risks involved.
A solution to these concerns, which also happens to be a solution to stopping swaddling is to use a wearable blanket instead. In many ways, they are similar to a swaddle but they allow more freedom of movement in the arms and legs which helps to avoid some of the major concerns of swaddling, such as hip dysplasia.
What is a Wearable Blanket?
It’s exactly what it says on the tin! It’s like a swaddle cross with a sleeping sack. A blanket which the baby can put their arms through and wear it which is enclosed at the bottom to keep the warmth from escaping. The benefit is that there are no loose ends and no way for the baby to kick it off during the night.
This way, you are reducing the potential risks warned about by the APP by keeping unnecessary loose items out of the crib and even better, they are less likely to be waking up in the middle of the night complaining of the cold!
Wearable blankets are also known as sleep sacks but this term is a trademark used by Halo for their wearable blanket product. It’s similar to how people call vacuum cleaners “Hoovers”.
Best Wearable Blankets Compared
#1 Halo Sleepsack Microfleece Wearable Blanket
By far the most popular brand of wearable baby blanket is Halo with their sleep sacks! And there’s a good reason or it, they are high quality, comfortable and look great!
Another reason is that they’re recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as being “hip healthy” due to how roomy they are. This is a reference to how it’s a great alternative to swaddling which has been reported to induce hip dysplasia if performed incorrectly.
The texture of the sleep sack is outstanding, it’s so plush and soft to the touch, and it owes this to its microfleece polyester fabric.
The TOG rating is 1.0 meaning it provides ample warmth for temperate night time climates but may need to be supplemented in colder locations.
It has a handy two-way zipper that can open the sleepsack from either the top or the bottom. The bottom access is convenient for you and makes diaper changing a lot quicker with less hassle.
Overall this wearable baby blanket is functional, well made and adorable. There are many buying options for you to choose from, as it ranged in three sizes and has many color and design options giving you a great opportunity for personalization.
#2 Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Sleeping Bag
The Baby Deedee Baby Sleeping Bag is a product which has a loyal fan base, and many of those live in locations that have particularly cold winters.
Sometimes it’s hard to get it right, and the wearable blanket either leaves the baby cold or makes them too hot and clammy. This wearable sleeping bag solves that problem!
It’s made from a soft and snug breathable fabric of quilted duvet with polyester filling on the interior and 100% cotton on the exterior providing a warm cocoon that your baby can snuggle up in.
The shoulder straps are fastened using some “popper” buttons which makes the sleeping bag so much easier to put on and take off your baby as you can just stand them in it and fasten the straps, or unfasten them and pick them up out of the sleeping sack.
There are three size options, the largest suiting babies up to 36 months and many color options to choose from letting you pick a nice one that suits your child. It would be nicer if there were some cute patterns and softer tone colors available but it’s still nice to have the options that are there.
#3 Carter’s Baby 2-Pack Microfleece Sleepbag
This pack of two wearable baby sleeping sacks is great value because they are both high quality and your baby will look absolutely cute in the adorable sheep or elephant designs on them.
They differ from the others we’ve seen here because they are wearable blankets with sleeves, which help to keep them warm during the course of the night. It also helps to make them feel that bit cozier but it does restrict their movement a little bit.
The sleep bags are made from 100% polyester which is fleeced making them very soft and very warm but not as breathable as cotton. They have plenty of room inside for your little one to move their legs around.
#4 SwaddleDesigns Microfleece Sleeping Sack
SwaddleDesigns offers another great wearable blanket for baby which is fleecy, snug and has a really simplistic but pleasing design. It’s also really nice to the touch! It has plenty of leg room so your baby can kick around without being restricted which is always nice for a wearable blanket to have.
Just like the Halo Sleepsack, it has a two-way zipper, so if you need to, changing diapers can be made a lot quicker and easier. Its TOG rating is 2.2 which makes it great for colder climates as it can retain heat quite well.
However, there is a drawback to this product, and many buyers have experienced this. It sheds quite a lot, leading to fluff being left over the mattress and other furniture which can sometimes end up on the baby’s face and in their mouth!
#5 Simple Joys 3-Pack Cotton Sleeveless Sleepbag
The wearable blankets offered by Simple Joys aren’t as high quality as the previous three we have looked at but it is more affordable and good value for money because they come in packs of three.
They are relatively simple in design and the fabric isn’t very thick, nor is it as soft as the microfleece you see in the Halo Sleepsack. They are very breathable however and are less likely to have your baby waking up clammy or too hot.
As the branding suggests, these wearable sleep bags are simple, easy to use and still make great products and since you get three in a pack, the spares come in extremely handy!
What to Look for in a Wearable Blanket?
There are obviously quality differences between the products that are available, and to find the best wearable blanket for baby to have a comfortable night’s sleep every night there are certain factors to consider.
TOG Value and Local Climate
TOG values are a measurement of the heat resistance of things like clothing, bedding and other fabric materials where the heat resistance is relevant. In other words, it’s a measure of the effectiveness of the textile product at keeping you warm.
The higher the TOG value is of a wearable blanket, the better it is at retaining heat and keeping your baby warm. This means that in colder climates, for example, if you happen to be in the winter in Colorado, a higher TOG value of 2-3 would be better suiting.
If on the other hand, it’s warmer where you live at night, you may not need to wrap them up in such warm clothing and so lower TOG value would most likely be better for you to avoid them getting too hot and sweaty.
Room to Move
One of the main points of having a wearable blanket is for baby to have room to move their legs and arms instead of them being restrained whilst still having a blanket to keep them warm at night.
This is especially important for those who are transitioning from swaddling.
If their legs are too restricted, they will try to kick out and this can result in the hip joints becoming damaged which in turn could cause problems with their healthy development further down the line.
Ensure that you get the sizing right for your infant and when you receive the wearable blanket, check that they can bring their legs up to their chest and relax them again without getting caught or restricted from doing so.
Of course, you want your child to sleep through the night without waking, that’s the best case scenario. The best was to try and achieve this is to make sure they are comfortable and this means picking clothing for them that is going to soothe them.
Wearable blankets that give a pleasing and comforting tactile sensation to the touch helps a lot. Babies love the feeling of plush fabrics, mostly everybody does! Typically the fleece type of fabrics tends to feel much nicer than those that are not fleeced.
Not Too Loose
Even though you don’t want to have one that’s too tight that it restricts their movement, it’s also best to avoid wearable blankets that are too loose.
Look out for those that have a lot of extra space around the neck area, as this over overhanging fabric can go over your babies face and this is a suffocation risk. Not only that but if it’s not a snug fit, it isn’t going to be all that effective at retaining the warmth.